Around Here

05 | 31 | 2011 Evening Toes

AROUND HERE we've decided to have a no-TV summer. With the exception of maybe a movie night once a week/every couple of weeks, the TV is going to be off for the duration. Swimming, bikes, toys, running, playing outside, hanging out in the yard, reading books, making up things to play, playing together, more swimming - that's what I want our summer to be about. Most recently the TV has just been creating grouchy kids and I'm done with that...they might be grouchy for other reasons but it won't be because they can't watch another round of stuff on TV.

AROUND HERE I'm feeling really thankful to whoever it was that recently recommend The Family Dinner: Great Ways To Connect With Your Kids, One Meal At A Time. I cracked it open tonight and was inspired from the first few pages. I think it helps that this is really the mind-set I'm in right now (see TV comments above). We eat at the table together most nights (at least the kids and I do - it's been crazy the last six months for Chris while the legislature is in session) but I've been feeling worn down about the process lately and really just needed some inspiration to help me refocus on all the benefits that come from entering the kitchen with a positive attitude, having a plan & sticking to it, involving the kids in the process, and creating these really lovely daily rituals that I hope will have ripple effects throughout their lives. I haven't cooked any of the meals yet and I haven't read the whole thing (there's lots of content beyond the recipes - antidotes, quotes, and other inspiration), but from what I've seen so far and the inspiration I got from just browsing through, I can't wait to really dive in and implement some of the ideas. The Family Dinner also has a blog with recent posts (including recipes and table talk suggestions) here.

06 | 07 | 2011

AROUND HERE Anna's big girl bed (a twin mattress set) was delivered yesterday and she spent the night in it last night. She'd been napping in a big girl bed at Kim's house and slept on a twin mattress at my parents last weekend. She was so excited to come home and find her new bed in place and all ready for her to climb into (and jump on a couple times of course). I went in to check on her before I went to bed around midnight and as I was re-arranging her so that her legs pointed toward the end of the bed she sat straight up in that wonderful-mid-sleep-state and said, "I got a big girl bed." Then she laid back down, snuggled right in, and went back to sleep.

AROUND HERE all she wants to wear is pink or purple and often both at the same time.

AROUND HERE the Harry Potter Knight Bus lego just arrived and Simon is loving driving it all around. He was playing with it on our back patio and when I told him to come inside he went through a whole routine of getting the guys ready to go just like in the movie, including saying where in our house he was headed. When he was putting it together he asked me how it was going to squish together like it does in the film.

AROUND HERE he has just a few more days of third grade. Seriously.

AROUND HERE the legislature just a few more weeks (hopefully) in the 2011 session.

In Progress

AROUND HERE I've got lots of projects in progress (such is the creative life). My office is full of stuff I'm in the middle of: a class using my Italy photos from last year, compiling content from Yesterday & Today into an eBook, One Little Word prompts for upcoming months, Designer Digitals product ideas, a layout using the June Studio AE stamps, etc. My mind is full of things I want to do in the garden and around the house: painting, weeding, re-arranging.

AROUND HERE I'm excited about the Your Story Retreat next weekend. I'm looking forward to a new experience.

AROUND HERE my heart is happy for summer.

74 thoughts

  1. Tammy B

    2011-06-08 19:02:00 -0400

    We eat dinner together almost every night. I guess it helps that my kids don't have any activities after school or in the evenings. Sometimes it's just a free for all meal but we still sit down at the table. I should be happy about that because I have two teenagers that would rather be somewhere else but I appreciate the time to talk about things like school, etc. with them. And how I wish we could cut out the tv for the summer! We will be on holidays for the first two weeks of July and I know my kids will be in withdrawal but it's good for them to step away from the electronics since they are bombarded with them at every turn!

  2. Tracey G

    2011-06-08 21:02:05 -0400

    Congrats on taking the no TV leap for the summer. I bet you find you love it! We decided not to start cable after moving in March and I think it's been the best thing I've ever done for my kids. We still watch movies, but not until after 4pm (while mom's getting dinner ready - we homeschool, so that waaaay after school is finished). It's been great!

  3. Joy Taylor

    2011-06-08 22:30:40 -0400

    Well I just love your post inspiring..although no kids on my front I can remember my childhood days, when we were told to go outside and make our own fun, TV was turned off and as for dinner, we had all meals as a family around the table...I feel blessed that I was brought up this way and I feel in today's society it is a major loss and being used less and less, my hope is that everyone reads your inspiring blog post and possibly pick up the book that you are reading to encourage them to do as you and your family are doing..sending hugs.

  4. Linda

    2011-06-08 23:33:54 -0400

    Our kiddos range in age from 24 to the twins who are 6. I can not tell you how glad I am that I made dinner time a tradition. Now that our older kids are out on their own...when they come home to visit...they head to the kitchen to whip up their latest culinary successes. It is SO MUCH FUN to watch their level of excitement in the process. One of the traditions we began...many years ago, was a round or two or ten of 20 questions at dinner. It is amazing to me the discussions that have sprung from that simple game. You would think that eventually the crew would tire of the ritual...but, instead I've found that they come to the table more and more with a "answer" already for their round. The other tradition that has remained a constant is "Friday News".... the night when each member of the family has a chance to share "THe Best thing that happened to me this week".'d think that once they outgrew the ...I memorized a new poem want to hear it? stage...that it would get old...instead... our grown children e-mail home photos or notes to be shared and demand a full update report in reply.(This week I have a photo of the Navy Ship on which our daughter is an dry dock, and of our oldest son's newest girlfriend...just waiting in the friday folder. All traditions that keep us connected as a family....because, at our house we eat together. (Sort of our house no one is allowed to leave without a hug....our children's friends line up like troopers)

    Love no TV summers!!! We own one little bitty 19 inch TV.... you have to know that no one hangs out at our house to watch TV or play video games....and I have a lot of children who do not call me Mom who love to hang out at our house.

  5. Michelle

    2011-06-09 00:02:06 -0400

    During the summer I wasn't allowed to sit in front of the TV all day, I was shoved outside to play with my friends. The only time I came in was lunch and dinner and then before it got dark (or my curfew, whichever came first). We only stayed inside if it was raining.

    TV, video/computer games are the reason why kids lack imagination. I work in a school system and it amazes me how kids no longer have imagination. When I tell them to use it they reply, "What's that?" Pretty sad when you think of it. Good for you for implementing a no TV rule! I think it's a great idea.

  6. Victoria

    2011-06-09 10:04:36 -0400

    Just prompted to add a cautious note to the no TV comments. My dad was really strict about how much TV we were allowed to watch - and that was in the 60s and 70s! So what happened was that when we went to friends houses to 'play', all we really wanted to do was watch TV! Ditto grandparents ( a bit later) and hotels - rather than visit the place we had come to stay! And, when we did watch it, we were completely absorbed in the programme. There was no chance of having a conversation along the Tv, If we had a chance to watch, we watched! If my parents went out and we were left with a babysitter, we watched way past our bedtime. Even now, although I can turn the TV off and actually, I don't watch a huge amount, when I watch, I am still 100% focused!

    As a geography teacher, I often suggest parents watch selected TV documentaries/Discovery channels etc with their children. Mostly it is to stretch the child's mind. I want them to watch
    together so they can discuss what they see. Likewise, when watching a drama or something like that, I want them to discuss what might happen next, what clues there were for that, what the relationships are like - how do they know that: facial expressions, ways of talking (this all helps with creative writing). I want them to talk about the background - where is it set, what is the landscape like, what about the weather? Look it up on an atlas. And so on!
    My own daughter (22 now) was allowed to watch more or less what she wanted within reason and not all the time. She is not as focussed as me, can turn it off, and is selective and balanced! (Not that i am biased!)
    It sort of goes with the no chocolate argument, I think. Again, my Dad was strict about sweets. One bar between 6! You can guess what I am like with chocolate now. And I let my daughter have pretty mush what she wanted, when she wanted it. Now, she can take it (choc/sweets etc) or leave it.

    Hope you don't mind me adding this other point of view.

    And don't be too hard on yourself, Ali. At the top of your post, you sounded a bit down about how you are doing as a Mum/parent. Having read your blog for many years now, it seems to me you are doing more than fine! Your kids will have a hard time improving on thier upbringing, so maybe cut yourselves some slack! Enjoy the lazy days ofsummer.

  7. Claire

    2011-06-09 12:05:07 -0400

    Good for you on turning the television off. My three boys are allowed to watch very little, and only at a specified time (just before tea) on Saturdays. The rest of the time they don't even think about it and never ask to watch it. I am convinced it makes children more imaginative, more creative, healthier and happier to live without it.

  8. Gypsy Chaos

    2011-06-09 12:49:25 -0400

    I love how you repeated the phrase "around here".

    The two major issues in our 28+ years of marriage: indoor temperature and TV usage.

    I'd love to ditch the TVs. We did hold the line on only one TV until recently; the youngest were already in HS I think. When it's on, I get sucked in. OTOH my husband watches it constantly. According to him, it's the 'only' way he relaxes. (When you've never tried anything else, well...)

    {Temperature? He wants the inside to be the opposite of outside. COLD in the summer, HOT in the winter. Since the kids joined me in ganging up on him, and the utility bills went up, the temperature is more in line with the real world.}

  9. Claudia Black

    2011-06-09 13:13:49 -0400

    Ali, I find it absolutely super that you're planning a no TV summer. I grew up in Germany w/ barely any TV & it wore off on me as an adult. To be honest, I could live w/ out one. However, Americans & I hate to say it British, seem to be so bound on TV, people wake up to TV, TV's in public places, shows on top of shows at night, ... as much as I enjoy a good movie, when I'm alone & the hubby is not home, the TV is almost never on. Go for it!!!
    Love you're "AROUND HERE ..." journaling.

  10. Mariah

    2011-06-09 14:58:30 -0400

    Hi, Ali. Very brave to turn off that TV. I know I really struggle with that as well. My kids are banned from it today, in fact, because they were just being bad. I do think too much tv is part of the reason. Anyhow, I also wanted to thank you for sharing Anna's baby album in your previous post. It really inspired me. I've followed your blog for a long time, and I just can't believe that Anna has a big girl bed. She looks grown up. Enjoy your summer.

  11. Jamie

    2011-06-09 17:11:33 -0400

    We are doing tech free Tues. and Thurs. this will be very difficult for my 12 year old, but so far my 5 year old loves it, she has been playing with toys she hasn't played with in a long time. It is hard because we live in a part of the country that sometimes has days like today where it is just to hot to spend an extended period of time outdoors, so we went bowling this morning!!

  12. Sabrina Kapp

    2011-06-09 21:25:47 -0400

    Love this. Go Ali! Enjoy summer!!!

  13. Heather Moll

    2011-06-10 00:26:09 -0400

    i absolutely LOVE the idea of a TV-free summer. we are totally going to do that here. thanks for the awesome idea.

    i just put the family dinners book on hold at the library. we always eat dinner together as a family too but some days it is a rather exhausting time. looking forward to reading this book. thanks for recommending it.

    have a great weekend, ali!

  14. Stephanie

    2011-06-10 07:39:03 -0400

    Hi Ali,
    I am looking for the "everyday life" album you designed for Shutterfly. I can't find it on their site...did you discontinue it? Was hoping to use that to make a quick album. Thanks!

  15. Christine H

    2011-06-10 10:18:40 -0400

    My now 15 year old son loved the bathtub. It was what we did when he needed calming as an infant. I remember many nights sitting on the bathroom floor while he played in the tub, making up stories, "swimming" and other fun stuff. He would stay in there until the water was freezing and his teeth were chattering!

  16. Mandy

    2011-06-10 15:08:27 -0400

    Love this idea of no tv for the summer and spend it with each other. I love eating dinner with no TV period. It gives everyone a chance to really talk to each other and just "be" with each other. Love the post! I am new to blogland and love coming across all these awesome blogs! :) Have a great weekend!

  17. Julie

    2011-06-10 16:59:16 -0400

    Your summer plans sound wonderful, those small kid days go so fast!

  18. stacy

    2011-06-10 17:24:40 -0400

    Hi Ali,

    Our daughters are only a month apart- I've been wodering about when to movce her to a big girl bed. She hasn't tried climbing out of the crib or anything yet- so I've been biding my time! Anyways, wondering if Anna tries to get out of bed and open her door when you leave the room? Thanks! Love your blog!

  19. Sharon Gullikson

    2011-06-10 20:52:58 -0400

    The only tv we watch is Survivor (which isn't on during the summer) and Antiques Roadshow.

  20. B. Poteraj

    2011-06-10 20:54:14 -0400

    Have a great summer...

  21. Marilyn

    2011-06-11 16:13:20 -0400

    You know the old Bob Hope show when he finished and closed his weekly show and he would sing "Thanks for the memory of sentimental verse, nothing in my purse And when the preacher said, 'for better or worse" How lovely it was"....Well Ali, thanks for the memories. My 37 y/o daughter would do the very same things on her bed. She would wear her "dancing" clothes and dance on her bed "stage". She still today dances like no one is watching. We always sat down for dinner and it led to a cohesive family unit. Of course they do not remember any of it!!!!! Bear that in mind, but I certainly do. I don't remember removing the TV except during the week, but back in the 70's and 80's there was only Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers.


  22. Teresa

    2011-06-12 00:37:00 -0400

    I just had to say, we gave up TV in decision ever!! my girls are older, 16 & 12 and after some initial whining, they don't even mind. We still do Netfix but there is no random TV noise on all day and it's great!

  23. heather

    2011-06-13 10:27:34 -0400

    I love the idea of a no tv summer but I need better help in figuring out how to do it (I enjoy it too!!) and of course will admit those mornings when it is hard to get up and they are watching tv quietly that I would miss it. I have 3 boys 11,10,8 can someone shed some more light. I want to limit it and the nintendo games too but I don't think I could say no tv all just looking for some insight thanks!!

  24. Project Life | Week Twenty-Three | Ali Edwards

    2011-06-14 06:01:39 -0400

    [...] my Awakening 4×6 Overlay set. Most of the journaling about Anna’s new bed came from the Around Here post last week and I added a bit more telling what happened the rest of the [...]

  25. Erika

    2011-06-16 21:23:19 -0400

    Especially in favour of the no-tv stuff...we dont' even own one.

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